Jan 022014
 

Still more snow, again these are some images of my short walk to the steep cliffs on the southern side of Mount Dobratsch.

So far we had hardly any snow down here in Villach, but it does not matter. Snow and blue sky trump snow and fog all the time 😀

The Song of the Day is one more time “High On The Mountain” from the Blood, Sweat & Tears album “B, S & T; 4”. Hear it on YouTube.

2632 – High On The Mountain

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Dec 312013
 

I’ve promised you snow, here is snow. I had come too late to strive for the very summit, but I could take a side route into an area where you see the steep cliffs on the southern side of Mount Dobratsch.

What else? Oh yes, it’s the end of the year.

Was it a good year?

In general I’d say no. It was a particularly bad year for all the refugees who died at sea, trying to enter a fortified Europe, it was a bad year for the people of Syria, who found themselves as helpless victims of a domestic dictator and of ruthless, cynical foreign politics, and it was a bad year for everyone who up to now has believed in democracy and freedom.

It was the year when Rick Falkvinge plausibly explained why it’s probably too late for the US to stop becoming a police state, and once the dominant empire goes down into plutocratic totalitarianism, hardly any hope is left for the rest of us.

Was it all bad? Personally I can’t say so. I’m working in an interesting project with people I like, I suffer no hardship, I’m healthy and so are the people I love. Things are fine around here.

I even have a new camera. I’ve been using the OM-D E-M1 for about a month now, and although the OM-D E-M5 was a good camera, the E-M1 is better. It has a bigger, better viewfinder, better ergonomics, knows a few new tricks, and in general it gives up nothing of what made the OM-D E-M5 everybody’s Camera of the Year 2012.

No, personally I’m doing well, but, dear governments, can I still have some democracy and freedom please? I swear, I’ll praise you next year. Thanks a lot!

The Song of the Day is “High On The Mountain” from the Blood, Sweat & Tears album “B, S & T; 4”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 302013
 

You know, I live in a wonderful place, but at this time of the year Carinthia is always plagued by fog. Fortunately it helps to just drive up a mountain, and fortunately the next mountain, Mount Dobratsch, is very near. It takes me half an hour by car to get up to the highest parking area at more than 1700 meters. That always brings me out of the fog. In the worst case it ends at 1500 meters, this time 800 were already enough.

This image has been taken two thirds up and I was surprised to see no snow at that height, but simply to see that bright sun lit up my mood. I also got snow later, but that’s for the next post 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Let There Be More Light” from the 1968 Pink Floyd album “A Saucerful Of Secrets”. I guess I may have used this title a few times before, but I am too lazy now to look up the exact number. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 232013
 

Today was a sunny day in Carinthia, but we decided to drive down to sunny Italy, just because we could.

No good idea. We entered the second tunnel in Italy still in sunlight, and when we left it a kilometer later, the sun was gone and the sky shrouded in dense, high fog.

It took us a while to get back, but thankfully we still caught some glimpses of sunlight before it faded away. This is again Mount Dobratsch, this time seen from the valley to the west.

The Song of the Day is “Fade Away” from Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 album “The River”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 222013
 

To be honest, not only is this not the top of the world, it’s not even the top of Mount Dobratsch. It is a spot more than 200 meters below the summit, just a few meters above and off the highest parking area.

Does it matter to me? Not at all when I’ve just made it out of the fog and into the sun 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Top Of The World” from the 1990 James album “Gold Mother”. Hear it on YouTube.

2619 – All This And Heaven Too

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Dec 182013
 

Coming out of the fog, standing up there in the snow, it feels like being in a different world, a world above the clouds, above misery and sorrow, a kind of heaven.

I had brought only one lens, again the 12-40/2.8, and you see from this and the last post, it works for landscapes and details just as well.

The Song of the Day is “All This And Heaven Too” from Florence + The Machine’s second album “Ceremonials”. Hear it on YouTube.

By the way, this is an album that I have long awaited and then just kept on my Amazon Shopping List for two years. Now I’ve bought it as a CD, along with a few other things on the list.

Why as a CD, you ask? Yes, why indeed? Have I not decided to stop buying plastic?

Fact is, it was cheaper. To be precise: CD plus MP3 downloads were cheaper than the MP3 downloads alone. Capitalism, my ass! Sometimes it defies all reason 😀

2618 – In Your Head

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Dec 172013
 

There is not much snow on Mount Dobratsch at the moment. Since the last snowfall we had mostly fair weather above the fog, but what is left, has been swept by the wind into bizarre forms.

I was there about half an hour before sundown. The light was already coming low. Someone saw me and asked what I found so interesting on the ground. Lines, I said. Lines.

Snow is an interesting substance, and especially so when it is not fresh. There is a filigree of ice on the surface, and below it begins to melt away, sometimes leaving only a crust. Other parts look like sand dunes and others not like anything we know at all. It’s all in your head what you see in it.

The Song of the Day is “In Your Head” by Gabby Young and Other Animals, from their 2012 album “The Band Called Out for More”. Hear it on YouTube.

Dec 162013
 

The last few days we had fog in Villach, but only below around 750 meters. This image was taken from almost 1000 meters above. You’ll see more images from my short after-work trip to Mount Dobratsch in the next few posts 🙂

The Song of the Day is “White Moon” from the 2005 White Stripes album “Get Behind Me Satan”. Hear it on YouTube.

Nov 172012
 

Sometimes I simply forget where I live and how privileged I am.

Remember the last post? I had posted an image from last weekend, because it was foggy and gloomy all day and I had no desire to go out and take images.

Well, we had the same situation on Friday, but this time I took two hours off in early afternoon and drove up Dobratsch, one of Villach’s two nearest mountains.

What a difference it was. At about 1200 meters the fog started, and somewhere above 1500 meters it gave way to bright sunshine. Really, you can’t imagine what a difference in mood it makes.

The Image of the Day was taken in the same place as “74 – Out of the Fog” and
1210 – Solid Rock“, only this time I was just a tad below the upper limit of the fog.

Like in “810 – Higher Ground“, the Song of the Day is one more time “Higher Ground” by Vanessa Williams, and this time I can link to a video on YouTube.

By the way, nice number of this post, ain’t it 🙂

2158 – The First Snow II

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Sep 162012
 

Like I said, it didn’t fall all the way down to Villach, we had only rain on Thursday, but on the mountains there was enough snow that I could take this image on Friday morning.

There’s nothing special in this image, it’s not even a good one, in fact this is more like collecting evidence 🙂

One thing is interesting though. I have used the Sigma 150/2.8, probably the only Nikon mount lens that I won’t sell. Or maybe I’ll do. On the OM-D it is manual focus only and I need the Novoflex adapter, because the lens has no aperture ring. It also is a typical autofocus lens, thus its focus ring has not much throw. Maybe I should sell it as well and get myself a used Nikon 180/2.8 AI-S. That’s a fine lens and one that was meant to get focused manually 🙂

But that’s not the interesting thing. Interesting is, that an image like this can’t simply be enhanced by increasing contrast. If you do so, the shades get unnaturally blue.

The reason for this is, that when you look through such a long lens at something so far away), you look through a lot of atmospheric haze. It takes away much of the contrast, it strongly washes out colors, and the one color that it leaves alone mostly, that is blue.

You see, there is nothing wrong with how washed out and how low on contrast an image looks under such conditions. It just looks as it is.

Of course when we isolate that part of the scene by framing it, we suddenly expect normal colors and normal contrast, just like we would see them when we were as near as it looks in the image.

As always, you can look at the image on Flickr in its full size. What you see is remarkably noisy for ISO 200, but you must not forget that I had to greatly increase contrast, thus I have increased noise as well. You also see weird details, similar to the effect of noise reduction, but somehow different. That’s the influence of sufficiently much air of different temperatures in between. Remember, we are looking from my roof terrace over the city of Villach up to mount Dobratsch. Look at the big antenna. There you clearly see that we look at atmospheric distortion and not at the effect of noise reduction running wild.

Does this image look unnatural? Colors and contrast?

I think not, but what you see is the result of the application of two very different color temperatures. I’ve chosen a very warm color temperature for the forest regions, and a much cooler temperature for the sky and the clouds. The snow is in the area where the two smoothly blend.

The result, though not at all accurate, looks pretty much like we’d expect such a scene to look.

The Song of the Day is “First Snow In Kokomo” from Aretha Franklin’s 1972 album “Young, Gifted And Black”. We already had it in October 2007 in “372 – The First Snow“. Hear it on YouTube.